Two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine may not soon be enough to escape quarantine or bypass other restrictions when travelling internationally. On Wednesday, the Biden administration authorized a massive booster shot campaign starting later September for millions more Americans just days after approving a third short for immunocompromised people.
Booster shot campaigns have already been approved in Germany and the United Kingdom and are set to get underway in September in anticipation of a surge in cases as the winter months set in and vaccine immunity starts to wane, especially in older and more vulnerable people.
Booster doses have been encouraged by Pfizer and Moderna but the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for a moratorium on booster jabs until more of the world’s population have received even their first dose. Around 69 per cent of people on earth as still waiting to be offered the vaccine.
Undeterred, the British government is drawing up plans to restrict travel to anyone who hasn’t had the most up to date dose offered to them.
In England, booster doses will be made available initially only to people aged 50 and over, as well as other vulnerable groups. In the United States, the booster will be made available to anyone at least 8 months after their second dose.
But the current recommendation only applies to the Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. Officials are still assessing whether a booster campaign is required for the Johnson & Johnson Janssen single-shot vaccine.
The next phase of each country’s vaccination campaign risks creating myriad new travel rules and restrictions that may make international travel considerably harder or at the very least ensure that COVID-19 testing for travel remains relevant for some time.
There is also the possibility that COVID-19 antibody serology testing becomes much more important over the coming months with the health departments of different country’s willing to accept a wider range of vaccines and dosing regimens so long as the traveller has a decent amount of protective antibodies.
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Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.